Doctor warns of stroke risks in children

NEWS that a three-year-old boy suffered a stroke has shocked parents across Viet Nam.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Children’s Hospital reported earlier this month that the child faced a month of hospitalisation after a haemorrhagic stroke.

The boy from Vinh Long Province was playing with his friends when he collapsed, had convulsions and lost consciousness.

At the hospital, tests revealed signs of bleeding in the head.

The boy underwent a digital subtraction angiography (DSA) of his cerebral vessels to find the cause of the stroke.

The result of the cerebral haemorrhage showed that the boy had a cerebral aneurysm sac.

Cerebral aneurysm is a common disease and one of the leading causes of death in the elderly, said Huynh Hau Danh, one of the doctors of the surgical department who treated the boy.

While cerebral aneurysms are becoming more common among younger people, the boy is the youngest Danh has seen with a cerebral vascular aneurysm.

The boy will have stents inserted to stop the cerebral aneurysm sac from breaking again when his health is stable, said the doctor.

This was not the first case of a child suffering a stroke.

Last year, the hospital successfully treated another three-year-old boy who had a stroke caused by infarction (bleeding).

According to the doctor, strokes can happen to babies and there are cases of infants suffering strokes too.

Strokes are typically either a hemorrhagic stroke or an ischemic stroke. Strokes in children are more often hemorrhagic than ischemic, the doctor said.

A stroke is always identified as a very serious illness, whether it happens to a child or an adult.

If the treatment is not timely, there may be damage to the nerve centres in the brain stem leading to a risk of brain loss and death.

Strokes in children are harder to recognise than in adults, leading to late diagnosis and treatment.

Stroke symptoms vary from case to case.

In children from six years and older, the symptoms are the same as in adults, including distorted mouth and slurred speech.

But in younger children, the symptoms are unclear.

The most common signs are that the child will be fussy, have a headache and blurry vision so it is difficult to recognise and easily confused with other diseases.

The “golden” time to save the life of children with cerebral hemorrhagic stroke is six hours from the time the child’s symptoms appear to surgery.

Without timely treatment, children would be at a very high risk of disability, even death, the doctor said. — Vietnam News/ANN

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